From “Tidal” September 2012. the Occupy magazine of theory and strategy. Remember, just walk away!
We are the 99%
We are the Invisible army of Defaulters.
We are millions. We are everywhere.
We are your neighbors. We are your family. Your friends.
We are going to bring this system to its knees.
We can, because we wield the one power that all the armies of the world can never defeat: the power of refusal.
This power has destroyed the mightiest empires the world has ever seen. All crumble and dissolve the moment enough
people simply withdraw their consent.
Not loudly. but quietly, covertly. The Roman
empire was destroyed not by barbarians,
but by draft evasion, tax evasion, and deser-
tion. Alexander and Napoleon’s armies
were stopped only when their own soldiers
refused to continue, or simply went home.
It wasn’t the Abolitionists who put an end to
slavery in America: it was the dogged and
ingenious resistance of millions of slaves,
from foot-dragging and flight to endless
acts of sabotage, that made the entire eco-
nomic system based on slavery untenable.
It was millions of acts of quiet refusal that
rendered all the Soviet Union’s tanks and
missiles and secret police powerless.
The same fate awaits the current system of
mafia capitalism in America, an economic
system driven by Wall Street CEOs who
produce nothing, contribute nothing, who
have bought our government and reduced
it into a criminal enterprise whose main pur-
pose is to support loan-sharking, gambling,
extortion, and the slow reduction of every
one of us into debt peons. We cannot stop
them through elections when both parties
are bought and paid for. One thing we can
do is to quietly withdraw our consent.
And so we have done. by refusing to pay the
money they claim we owe them.
We may be doing so covertly, we may not
yet dare to reveal our names and show our
faces, but do not doubt for a moment that
these millions of acts of refusal are, each
and every one of them, acts of profound
moral courage. All our lives we’ve been
told to pay our debts. That it doesn’t mat-
ter that the game is rigged and that it was
set up by liars and criminals. We are well
aware of the shame, the harassment, the
legal threats, humiliation, the sheer physi-
cal violence they will unleash on us. We are
willing to defy these threats, because in
the end, we know there’s something more
powerful than fear: and that is the love we
have for others. To be able to take care of
our children, our friends, our families, the
people that matter most to us, to learn, to
teach, to foster, to give to our communities,
is a value that no accountant can ever meas-
ure, that no government loan administrator
or hedge fund manager can ever have the
right to take away from us. every dollar we
take from a fraudulent subprime mortgage
speculator, every dollar we save from the
collection agency, is a tiny piece of our own
lives and freedom that we can give back
to our communities, to those we love and
We are an army of lovers who cannot be defeated.
We are laying the groundwork for another world. §